VoIP / Recently Commented

The Search for Net Neutrality

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, freely available version) examines the growing trend toward a two-tiered Internet, which upends the longstanding principle of network neutrality under which ISPs treat all data equally. I argue that the network neutrality principle has served ISPs, Internet companies, and Internet users well. It has enabled ISPs to plausibly argue that they function much like common carriers and that they should therefore be exempt from liability for the content that passes through their systems. ...Notwithstanding its benefits, in recent months ISPs have begun to chip away at the principle. more

Would the Real Network Neutrality Please Stand Up?

I'm sure this is something that's been raked over before, but I don't see a common understanding of what 'Net Neutrality' actually is. Despite many of the Internetorati demanding it by law. There appear to be several different camps, which you could paint as "bottom of IP", "middle" and "top". The bottomistas would see enforced Internet Protocol itself as a premature optimisation and violation of the end-to-end principle. Unhappy that you only get IPv4 or IPv6? Still grumpy that you only have IPv4 and not even IPv6? Really miserable that your VoIP packets are staggering under the poisonous load of IPv6 headers? You're a bottomista. more

The Great Internet Transformation? A First Stab

Is it just a coincidence that some of the leading Internet-based application companies are pushing aggressively into network connectivity at exactly the same time the major telephone companies are pushing into content? Or are we witnessing the end of the Internet as we know it? Think back to the online world fifteen years ago. There was AOL, there was Compuserve, there was Prodigy, and there was Apple's eWorld. Sure, there were researchers and students posting to Usenet newsgroups and navigating through Gopher sites, but the Internet was a sideshow for individuals and business users. ...the online world of those days was fragmented and small. Every online service was an island. Are we going back to those days? more

About Those Root Servers

There is an interesting note on the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog about Root Servers, Anycast, DNSSEC, WGIG and WSIS about a presentation to ICANN's GAC. (The GAC website appears to be offline or inaccessible today.) The interesting sentence is this: Lack of formal relationship with root server operators is a public policy issue relevant to Internet governance. It is stated that this is "wrong" and "not a way to solve the issues about who edits the [root] zone file." Let's look at that lack of a formal relationship... more

There Is No “Spam Problem”

This month I thought I could feel smug, deploying Postfix, with greylisting (Postgrey), and the Spamhaus block list (SBL-XBL) has reduced the volume of unsolicited bulk commercial email one of our servers was delivering to our clients by 98.99%. Alas greylisting is a flawed remedy, it merely requires the spambots to act more like email servers and it will fail, and eventually they will... more

Internet Governance: Analogue Solutions to Digital Problems

This is an overview of the booklet, "Internet Governance: Issues, Actors and Divides," recently published by DiploFoundation and the Global Knowledge Partnership. "Internet Governance is not a simple subject. Although it deals with a major symbol of the DIGITAL world, it cannot be handled with a digital - binary logic of true/false and good/bad. Instead, the subject's many subtleties and shades of meaning and perception require an ANALOGUE approach, covering a continuum of options and compromises." Update: This article was reposted with additional information and a new title. more

Averting the Internet Meltdown

A call to action went out: a small, California-based organization called People for Internet Responsibility (PFIR) posted an announcement for an urgent conference - "Preventing the Internet Meltdown." The meltdown that PFIR envisioned was not an impending technical malfunction or enemy attack. Instead, conference organizers foresaw "risks of imminent disruption" to the Internet that would come from an unlikely sector: government officials and bureaucrats working on the unglamorous-sounding problems of Internet Governance. more

Phone Always Busy? Must be DDoS on VoIP Network

Amidst the fascinating news from the SCO saga, preparing for SANS London and contributing to the Unix timeline project at Grokline my eyes caught a piece of rather distressing news on the BBC. It appears that BT (British Telecom) intends to move its current phone network to an IP-based network by 2009 thereby sending the circuit-switched technology off to the attic. The real question is: can we guarantee the same level of reliability on VoIP as we had on circuit-switched telephony when the stated aim is to carry both voice and data traffic down the same cables (or fibres more likely)? more

U.S. Moving Forward with ENUM

One of the pieces of infrastructure that makes all kinds of networks work and yet gets very little attention is the directory. Directories are big business. For example, there's directory of telephone numbers run by NeuStar, Inc. NeuStar has annual revenues of $92 million. Now, according to Light Reading, AT&T Corp. and MCI Inc., together with unidentified cable companies, telephone companies, and ISPs are preparing to form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will run a process to define a new company that will run ENUM. more

It’s About Connectivity Not The Internet!

I've been trying to avoid writing about the Internet as such. With as "At the Edge" I'm looking at larger issues but can't escape writing more directly about the Internet. It seems as if everyone wants a say in Internet policy without distinguishing between technical and social issues. Today the term "The Internet" or, for many simply "Internet" is more of brand than a term for a specific technology and its implications. It has become too easy to talk about the Internet in lieu of understanding. We also see the converse -- a failure to recognize "Internet" issues. more

What the Net Did Next

During this slow and long lull of domain name policy and ICANN related news stories, I thought it would be a good time to bring an article by BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward to the attention of the CircleID community. In it, ICANN Chairman of the Board Vint Cerf reflects on the history of the Internet and his involvement as somewhat of a "midwife," rather than the "father" title he doesn't like. He also looks to the future and identifies two key, fundamental changes that will shape the next stage of the Internet. As he puts it, they are VoIP and ENUM. more

Centralizing the Net, Monetizing DNS, Getting Trendy?

In a Red Herring Conference held last week in California, Mitch Ratcliffe's offers an analytical overview of an interview held with Stratton Scalovs, VerisSign's CEO..."He then goes on to say that we need to move the complexity back into the center of the Net! He says the edge can't be so complex. Get David Isenberg in here! Ross Mayfield, sitting in front of me, laughs out loud. I am dumbfounded. According to VeriSign, the Net should not be open to any type of application, only applications that rely on single providers of services, like VeriSign. This is troglodyte talk." more

NAT: Just Say No

Fueled by the lack of public IP addresses, 70% of Fortune 1000 companies have been forced to deploy NATs (Source: Center for Next Generation Internet). NATs are also found in hundreds of thousands of small business and home networks where several hosts must share a single IP address. It has been so successful in slowing the depletion of IPv4 addresses that many have questioned the need for IPv6 in the near future. However, such conclusions ignore the fact that a strategy based on avoiding a crisis can never provide the long-term benefits that solving the underlying problems that precipitated the crisis offers. more

Convergence: ENUM is a Big Deal

Convergence as a technology concept has been around for decades. Many have predicted the convergence of electronics and entertainment, of PC's and TV's, and more recently of WiFi and cellular. All of these areas are in fact undergoing various degrees of convergence but there is another area that many are not as familiar with. It is called ENUM...The idea can be extremely useful when you consider that most telephones are limited to twelve keys on a keypad. Ever tried to enter your alphanumeric login ID and password to a web site on a cell phone or Personal Digital Assistant? It is next to impossible! The biggest impact of ENUM will probably be for Voice Over IP (VoIP). In fact, it could be the tipping point. ENUM is a really big deal. more

SECSAC Special Meeting on Site Finder: A Technical Analysis

After attending the afternoon ICANN Security & Stability Committee meeting, I realized that the issues involved fall into several related but independent dimensions. Shy person that I am *Cough*, I have opinions in all, but I think it's worthwhile simply to be able to explain the Big Picture to media and other folks that aren't immersed in our field. In these notes, I'm trying to maintain neutrality about the issues. I do have strong opinions about most, but I'll post those separately, often dealing with one issue at a time. more